No. 7 ASU Earns 400th Victory While Going 2-1 at the Sun Devil Duals
Jan. 5, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 7 Arizona State wrestling team returned to the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena Sunday and gave the crowd of 1,144 supporters something to cheer about. The Sun Devils (4-3, 1-0 Pac-10) picked up the 400th win in the history of the program by downing Lock Haven, 21-16, to open the duals. ASU also dominated intrastate rival Embry-Riddle, 46-0, before dropping a hard-fought 26-13 decision to No. 3 Minnesota, the two-time defending NCAA champions.
The day opened with ASU squeeking past LHU to reach the milestone victory mark. No. 16 Nick Frost (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.), at 165, No. 5 Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho), at heavyweight, Jeremy Mendoza (Fr., Temecula, Calif.), at 125, No. 1 Eric Larkin (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.), at 149, and Rocky Smart (Sr., Pleasant Grove, Utah), at 157, all won for ASU. After Frost gave ASU the 3-0 lead, LHU won three in a row to take a 10-3 lead before a Fluckiger pin brought the match to 10-9. Mendoza followed with a 9-2 decision to give ASU the lead.
The Bald Eagles stormed back again, taking a 16-12 advantage on two more wins. No. 4 Dana Holland (Sr., Glendale Heights, Ill.) could not secure an upset of No. 3 Mike Maney, battling the LHU 141-pounder to a 4-3 decision as the second of the wins for the Bald Eagles, but Larkin halted their momentum with his pin at 6:42 in the match at 149. Ahead 18-16, Smart earned the win in his first match of the year to give ASU the team victory and No. 400 in the books.
Next up was the Sun Devils second Battle of Arizona, one week removed from a win over Pima. The Eagles forfeited three weights (285, 125 and 141), spoting ASU 18 points, before the dual began. Frost and Chris Smith (Fr., Gilbert, Ariz.), at 149, added pins while the second Smith brother, Mike Smith (Fr., Gilbert, Ariz.), added a 7-1 decision to close out the dual. Patrick Williams (So., Homestead, Fla.), normally a competitor at 149 or 157 for ASU, moved up to 174 for a sick Curtis Owen (Sr., Coeur D'Alene, Idaho) and won his match, 7-4. Also winning his first match of the year at 133 was Chris Knox (Timonium, Md.), a 5-0 decision winner.
In the nightcap, UM jumped out to a 13-0 lead before Fluckiger stepped in and again pinned his opponent, this time in 2:24, to cut the lead to 13-6. The Golden Gophers then won the next two matches, one by major decision and the second by fall, to bring the match to 23-6. ASU hung tough and got a major decision win from Holland before the marquee matchup at 149.
Larkin took the mat as the No. 1 wrestler at 149, a title in which he earned after upsetting No. 2 Jared Lawrence at the Las Vegas Invitational. Lawrence came out on the attack looking for revenge, but Larkin was able to mount a lead and build it into a 10-4 decision to remain a perfect 15-0 on the year. Williams, competing at his normal weight of 157, could not make it three wins in a row for ASU as he dropped an 11-6 decision to end the dual with the Golden Gophers on top, 26-13.
On the day, Fluckiger (two pins and a forfeit), Larkin (pin and decision) and Chris Smith (pin) went undefeated for the Sun Devils to help the team to a 2-1 record. UM compiled a 3-0 record on the day as LHU picked up its only win of the day over ERAU, sending the grappling Eagles back to Prescott, Ariz., with an 0-3 finish.
The Sun Devils return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday when the No. 4 Sooners of Oklahoma invade Tempe in another showdown between Top 10 teams.